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Branding in the New Normal

24 June 20

Today's big question is how we should react. The pandemic disrupts life in general at all different layers, in all different possibilities. Businesses are forced to stop, and those which could still continue need to adjust. Short terms solutions are needed, but a long term alignment is the real urgency. However, as the situation prolongs and is now called the new normal, different businesses require different adjustments. As discussed in Brand Communications in Time of Crisis, Alex Josephson and Eimear Lambe, the Global Head and the Director of Twitter Next, stated that every brand needs to know themselves. This is not just about observing and doing what everyone else is doing, this is about understanding the unique role each brand plays. They mentioned how the current situation is not for brands to capitalise on as it is not a "marketing opportunity". Linking business to a health scare is not a good idea. Milestone, as a brand consultant, understands that every business has different DNA, different traits. It is crucial to position your brand in the right place to occupy, creating a strong brand positioning. This part of brand strategy is not for businesses to benefit from the current crisis, but as a step for long-term plan and investment.

The new normal means new behaviours thus new needs. It is important to see what people really need right now. As cited from The Jakarta Post's Three stages of emotion on COVID-19 journey: Where are you now?, there are 3 stages of consumer emotional journey in Indonesia: Adjusting, Adopting, and Aligning. This is based on How Indonesians are feeling on COVID-19 by Kantar Indonesia. Each step represents different responses people experience in the process of facing this pandemic. Normally one follows the other, from taking time to see how their day-to-day life changes to realizing the status quo would indeed continue for months ahead and now they need to establish a new outlook to life. However, we have also arrived at the new normal where acceptance is necessary. Brands should present themselves as ones who adapt and enable, supporting customers in facing the shifts with new delivery and channels.

In order for brands to carry this out, they need to contextualize the products and services offered. This pandemic may be global, but its effects are granular as Joshua Spanier, Google’s global marketing VP for media, described. It is the one way for brands to best appeal to customers. Brands need to be relevant, addressing the issue without being tone-deaf. What they need is to pay attention to the local communities, how they are affected, and what brands could communicate in times of crisis. This is how the messages resonate well with the audience, keeping them relevant in the midst of the current situation.